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Minerva Stomatologica 2007 January-February;56(1-2):45-51

Copyright © 2006 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English, Italian

Esthetics and implantology: medico-legal aspects

Santoro V., De Donno A., Dell’Erba A., Introna F.

Section of Legal Medicine Department of Internal Medicine and Public Medicine University of Bari, Bari, Italy


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In recent years the high number of malpractice lawsuits in dentistry has attracted closer attention of dental practitioners to its medico-legal aspects. Implantology, in particular, presents many points of medico-legal concern connected with the difficulties inherent to dental procedures and objectives (both functional and esthetic), as well as full patient collaboration as an essential part of successful treatment. An accurate assessment of each case by the clinician is fundamental, especially in circumstances where esthetic considerations are preponderant as, for instance, in the frontal sectors. In such cases, the options of implantology or of a traditional fixed prosthesis need to be carefully weighed in light of the patient’s anatomic condition. The patient should therefore receive complete information and be made fully aware of the risk of treatment failure, as well as possible complications, limits to the procedures, and the fact that successful outcome will also depend on her/his scrupulous observance of the practitioner’s instructions. In short, the aim is to make the patient an active “accomplice” in treatment. To this end, the use of an extremely detailed information leaflet is strongly advised; after careful clarification of any doubts the patient may have, the patient’s written informed consent should be obtained. Nevertheless, there is the risk that excessive intrusion of bureaucracy into medical procedures in defence of the practitioner against malpractice suits may hinder the principal aim of traditional medicine, i.e. to provide the best care for the patient through mutual trust fostered within the doctor-patient relationship.

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